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Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast

Philip A. Harland

This podcast on "Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean" (formerly Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean) by Philip A. Harland of York University (Toronto) explores sociocultural life and ethnic relations in the Greco-Roman world, including discussion of ancient Judean (Jews) culture and the Jesus movements (Christians).



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Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Jun 19, 2015 Philip A. Harland
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This final episode in the series looks at some ways in which Satan still finds a place within modern culture.  After discussing the importance of the film Nosferatu (1922), I discuss Satanic imagery within the country blues (1930s) and rock and roll.  Then I conclude with a discussion of two Satanic conspiracies of the 1980s, the Satanic ritual abuse scare and the notion of backmasking in rock and roll.
Topics: Satan, devil, backmasking, film, country blues, rock
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Jun 18, 2015 Philip A. Harland
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This episode looks at the modern, ironic portrayal of Mephistopheles in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust (ca. 1800), which suggests some future directions for a relatively harmless and even powerless Satan in the modern period.
Topics: Satan, Goethe, Faust, Mephisto, pact with the devil
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Jun 17, 2015 Philip A. Harland
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This episode looks at the way in which Milton (in Paradise Lost ) pulled together many different elements into an early modern portrayal of a traditional Satan with some notable twists.
Topics: Milton, Paradise Lost, Satan, devil, beelzebub, belial, poetry, early modern
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Jun 17, 2015 Philip A. Harland
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In this episode, I explore how Satanic images and stories were used to combat enemies during the Reformation period (1500s), finishing with a discussion of Menno Simons' piece on identifying the Antichrist.
Topics: Reformation, satan, devil, papacy, martin luther, Menno Simons
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Jun 15, 2015 Philip A. Harland
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This episode looks at the place of Satan or the Devil in witchcraft accusations of the period 1400-1600, building on Robin Briggs' theory expounded in Witches and Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft (London: Penguin Books, 1998).
Topics: satan, devil, witchcraft, witches, trials, sabbat, black mass, pact, Percy
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Jun 11, 2015 Philip A. Harland
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This episode discusses some medieval images of Satan and Hell with a special focus on Dante's Inferno .
Topics: satan, hell, dante, inferno, judas, medieval culture
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Jun 11, 2015 Philip A. Harland
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This episode considers some Medieval perspectives on Satan and demons, considering stories of everyday interactions between humans and demons and looking at the role of Satan within one particular movement, the Cathars.
Topics: Satan, demons, medieval, inquisitions, cathars, heresies
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Jun 11, 2015 Philip A. Harland
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This episode looks at images of torture in hell that are first seen in the Apocalypse of Peter before going on to the notion of Christ's descent into hell in other writings, including the so-called Gospel of Nicodemus .
Topics: satan, hell, apocalypse of peter, gospel of nicodemus, torture, lex talionis, law of retaliation,...
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Jun 10, 2015 Philip A. Harland
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This episode situates the emergence of Hell and notions of an afterlife within Judean apocalypticism in light of the earliest reference to the punishment of fallen angels in 1 Enoch (ca. 225 BCE).
Topics: Satan, hell, 1 enoch, judaism, judean culture, afterlife, heaven, apocalypticism
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Jun 10, 2015 Philip A. Harland
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This episode looks at how the rhetoric of Satan and demons played a role in internal debates and the construction of "heresies" in the era of the so-called Church Fathers.
Topics: satan, church fathers, justin martyr, heresies, heretics
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Jun 10, 2015 Philip A. Harland
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This episode looks at the cultural predecessors of Hell and the afterlife in the Ancient Near East, Israel and Persia, setting the stage for discussion of Judean and Christian developments in the following episodes.
Topics: hell, sheol, satan, judaism, zoroastrianism
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Jun 10, 2015 Philip A. Harland
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This episode looks at how certain followers of Jesus, including the authors of Revelation and the gospels, expressed their notions of Hell and the afterlife.
Topics: satan, hell, gospels, revelation, apocalypse of john, afterlife
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Sep 23, 2013 Philip A. Harland
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Here I discuss Satan in John's Apocalypse (Revelation), pointing out how this author pulls together many strands of the story of Satan and does so to demonize an external power: the Roman empire.
Topics: Satan, the Devil, John's Apocalypse, Revelation, early Christianity, ancient Judaism, ancient...
In the first of two episodes dealing with the Church Fathers, here I look at how Justin Martyr and Origen contribute to the story of Satan and his demons in countering external opponents.
Topics: Satan, Devil, Church Fathers, Celsus, Origen, Justin Martyr, ancient history, early Christianity
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Sep 23, 2013 Philip A. Harland
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Here I discuss the expanded story of Adam and Eve that emerged around the turn of the common era as a way of explaining the motivations of Satan (primarily jealousy) in connection with both the creation of humans in the image of God and the serpent in the garden.
Topics: Satan, Devil, Life of Adam and Eve, ancient Judaism, early Christianity, ancient history
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Sep 23, 2013 Philip A. Harland
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Here I examine "On the Origin of the World" (one of the writings found at Nag Hammadi), which attributes to the creator God (Yaldabaoth) of the Hebrew Bible many of the negative attributes and motivations found in developing stories about Satan.  The result is a Satanic creator god and a wise serpent in the garden who brings knowledge ( gnosis ) and salvation.
Topics: satan, demiurge, gnosticism, gnosis, yaldabaoth, ancient judaism, early christianity, serpent,...
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Sep 18, 2013 Philip A. Harland
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Here I introduce Paul's apocalyptic worldview and go on to discuss the way in which some early Christian authors or leaders (e.g. Paul and the elder John) used the language or rhetoric of Satan or evil personified figures (e.g. Antichrist) to label and combat internal opponents within the Christian communities.
Topics: ancient history, early christianity, satan, devil, antichrist, ancient judaism, apostle paul,...
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Sep 16, 2013 Philip A. Harland
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Here I explore other building blocks of Satan's story from Israelite culture by looking at arrogant foreign kings and angels or messengers of God in the Hebrew Bible.
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Topics: Satan, Judaism, Israelite culture, Hebrew Bible, Devil, religion, ancient history
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Sep 16, 2013 Philip A. Harland
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Here I discuss 1 Enoch's expanded story of the fallen angels headed by Azazel and Semyaz (based an interpretation of Genesis 6), which came to play a crucial role in the emerging story of Satan.
Topics: Satan, devil, 1 enoch, fallen angels, ancient Judaism, early Christianity, Genesis, flood, Hebrew...
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Sep 16, 2013 Philip A. Harland
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Here I discuss how the authors of the synoptic gospels portray Jesus in conflict with demons and with the Devil.
Topics: satan, devil, beelzebub, early christianity, ancient history, ancient judaism, gospel of mark,...
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Sep 16, 2013 Philip A. Harland
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Here I continue to trace the development of evil personified figures in Judean literature around the turn of the first century BCE, focussing on Mastema (Enmity personified) and Beliar or Belial (Worthless One).  I also discuss the Princes of Darkness and of Light in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Topics: Satan, Judaism, devil, beliar, belial, mastema, jubilees, dead sea scrolls, early christianity,...
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Sep 10, 2013 Philip A. Harland
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This episode continues to consider the centrality of the "combat myth" for the subsequent origins of Satan, considering Ugaritic (Canaanite) and Israelite examples of a god slaying a chaos monster, such as Leviathan.
Topics: Satan, personified evil, cultural history, religion, canaanite religion, israelite religion,...
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Sep 10, 2013 Philip A. Harland
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This series of the podcast investigates the origins, history and functions of personified evil from ancient Judean and Christian culture to modern, Western culture.  We begin with what you might call the pre-history of Satan by exploring the building blocks of what ultimately became the story of Satan within Judean (Jewish) and Christian circles.  The first among the predecessors of Satan are monsters (who are also gods) found within Mesopotamian mythology in the second and first millenia...
Topics: religion, ancient judaism, mesopotamia, israelite, combat myth, satan, devil, evil personified,...
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
Sep 10, 2013 Philip A. Harland
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Here I discuss the battle between Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu in Persian Zoroastrianism in relation to the role of Satan within Judean apocalypticism.
Topics: satan, devil, zoroaster, zoroastrianism, apocalypticism, ahura mazda, angra mainyu, ancient...
This final episode in series 1 concludes the discussion of the Acts of Paul and Thecla in relation to the Pastoral epistles, addressing the ways in which Paul was used within debates about womens' leadership in second century groups of Jesus-followers. This is the final episode in series 1. Series 2 will take an historical and literary look at the gospels in terms of "Portraits of Jesus in Early Christianity". This episode is part of series one ("Paul and his Communities")...
Topics: early Christianity, history, Christian origins, new Testament, bible, acts of paul and thecla,...
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
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This episode looks at the situation in Galatia that led Paul to write his letter in the mid-first century (part 1 of 2). After Paul left this region of Asia Minor, certain leaders of the Jesus movement had passed through and discovered Gentiles (non-Judeans) who were not circumcized, despite the fact they thought they belonged to this Judean (Jewish) movement. Here I explore the rationale of these opponents of Paul who advocated circumcision as an entrance requirement into the movement and as a...
Topics: new testament, apostle paul, galatia, galatians, bible, early christianity, christian origins,...
This concludes the discussion of how Jesus is portrayed in the narrative of the gospel of Mark, namely as the secretive and suffering Son of God (part 2 of 2). This episode is part of series two ("Early Christian Portraits of Jesus") of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast, which is connected with the blog of the same name at
Topics: bible, gospels, new testament, mark, ancient history
Here I discuss the way in which the book of Hebrews portrays Jesus both as highpriest Melchizedek and once for all sacrifice (part 1 of 2). This is part of series 2 ("Early Christian Portraits of Jesus") of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: new testament, bible, early christianity, hebrews, melchizedek, judaism
Here I discuss two main groups of opponents combated by Ignatius of Antioch in his letters to followers of Jesus in Asia Minor (Turkey): Docetic and Judaizing opponents (part 1 of 2). This episode introduces Ignatius (who wrote in the early second century) and explains the position of his docetic opponents, who thought that Jesus only appeared to be human when in fact he was a divine being. This is part of series 3 ("Diversity in Early Christianity: 'Heresies' and Struggles") of the...
Topics: early Christianity, heresies, new testament, bible, apostolic fathers, ignatius of antioch,...
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
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Here I set the stage for the study of specific Nag Hammadi and related writings by outlining in broad terms some common denominators or assumptions in the range of worldviews traditionally labeled "gnostic". This includes discussion of the Middle Platonic assumptions of many authors. I also deal with the importance of knowledge (gnosis) in the understanding of how salvation from the material realm, which was created by an inferior god, takes place. This is part of series 3...
Topics: early christianity, ancient history, gnosticism, gnostic, christian origins, plato, platonic...
Here I delve into the issue of diversity in early Christianity by using the opponents in John's epistles as a starting point (part 1 of 2). These epistles provide evidence of an early Christian schism over how to view Jesus' humanity. This is part of series 3 ("Diversity in Early Christianity: 'Heresies' and Struggles") of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
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Topics: early Christianity, New Testament, Bible, Gospel of John, Epistles, history
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
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Here I explore Marcionite forms of Christianity, which contrast significantly to the Judean forms discussed in the previous episode. Followers of Marcion believed that the legalistic God of the Hebrew Bible was to be distinguished from the loving, unknown Father-God who sent Jesus, and that Law was opposed to Gospel. This is part of series 3 ("Diversity in Early Christianity: 'Heresies' and Struggles") of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: marcion, heresies, diversity, early Christianity, christian origins, ancient history
Here I discuss this dialogue gospel in which Mary Magdalene is presented as Jesus' favorite disciple and the instructor of true knowledge. I explore notions of salvation in terms of the ascent of the soul, as well as the way in which this writing reflects struggles among different groups of Jesus-followers. This is part of series 3 ("Diversity in Early Christianity: 'Heresies' and Struggles") of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: early Christianity, women, gnosticism, mary, gospel of mary
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
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Here I investigate the historical Jesus within the context of contemporaries who were viewed as healers and exorcists in first century Galilee and Judea. This is part of series 5 (The Historical Jesus in Context) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: historical jesus, healing, miracles, early christianity, exorcism, exorcist
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
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Here I explain emperor worship and the various types of honours for the emperors as gods, including imperial cults at the provincial, civic, and local levels in Asia Minor. This is part of series 4 (Honouring the Gods in the Roman Empire) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: emperor worship, imperial cults, greco-roman religions
Here I go back to the earliest Mesopotamian mythologies (starting about 3000 BCE) about the gods in order to trace a recurring pattern -- labeled the "combat myth" by scholars -- that later came to play a role in Judean (Jewish) apocalypticism. In particular I explore stories about a chaotic god or monster threatening the order of the universe and a young god's success in slaying the monster to restore order.
Topics: apocalypticism, apocalyptic, armageddon, ancient judaism, early christianity, end of the world,...
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
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Here I further explore the first-person visionary account in Daniel chapters 7-12, our earliest example of an historical apocalypse as veiled history.
Topics: apocalypse, apocalypticism, end of the world, judaism, christianity, daniel, antiochus epiphanes
This fifth episode continues discussion of the situation at Corinth as reflected in chapters 6-15 of 1 Corinthians, dealing with problems that arose due to the socially superior position of some Corinthian Christians and the spiritually superior claims of others. This episode is part of series one ("Paul and his Communities") of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: early Christianity, new testament, bible, 1 corinthians, christian origins, greco-roman religion,...
Here I continue to discuss how the gospel of John portrays Jesus as both the Word of God and the Son sent by the Father (part 2 of 2).
Topics: jesus, bible, new testament, gospels, gospel of John, ancient history, early christianity,...
Here I discuss how the gospel of Luke portrays Jesus as a prophet like Elijah, which also entails presenting Jesus as a saviour to the poor and marginalized of society (part 1 of 2). In this first part, I provide some important background for understanding this two volume work, Luke-Acts, both as ancient biography and as ancient history-writing.
Topics: early Christianity, new testament, bible, gospel of luke, gospels, jesus, ancient history,...
Here I finish the discussion of the Gospel of Philip by focusing on the way in which notions of salvation were enacted in the practices of the followers of Jesus who used this writing. In particular, rituals such as the "bridal chamber" illustrate the connections between sex (as a metaphor) and salvation in the mindset of this author. This is part of series 3 ("Diversity in Early Christianity: 'Heresies' and Struggles") of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: early christianity, gospel of philip, nag hammadi, gnosticism, bridal chamber
Here I begin to explain the worldview of the Apocryphon of John, one of the Nag Hammadi writings (part 1 of 2). Like other writings in that collection, this author makes a clear distinction between the perfect spiritual realm, also known as the "fullness", and an inferior material realm created by a jealous god or "ruler" (archon). In this episode I describe the perfect spiritual realm and the process of emanations from the perfect "Invisible Spirit" or...
Topics: early Christianity, ancient history, nag hammadi, apocryphon of john, gnosticism, platonism
Here I sketch out our main sources for the study of diverse Christian groups or "heresies" in the second and third centuries, including discussion of the early Christian Apocrypha, the Nag Hammadi writings, and the Church Fathers, or patristic writings. This is part of series 3 ("Diversity in Early Christianity: 'Heresies' and Struggles") of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: early Christianity, apocrypha, nag hammadi, gnosticism, gnostic, church fathers, patristic, new...
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
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This is the introductory episode for a series that explores the various ways in which people in the Roman empire, especially in Asia Minor, honoured and communicated with their gods. This is part of series 4 (Honouring the Gods in the Roman Empire) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: greco-roman world, roman empire, religion, asia minor, greek religion, roman religion
Here I consider evidence from Josephus and the Gospels regarding John the Baptist and his importance for studying the historical Jesus. This is part of series 5 (The Historical Jesus in Context) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: early christianity, historical jesus, john the baptist, judaism
Here I discuss messages from the gods, or divination. One way in which the gods were thought to communicate with individuals, groups, and communities was through oracles such as those of Apollo at Claros and Didyma. This is part of series 4 (Honouring the Gods in the Roman Empire) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: apollo, oracles, greco-roman religion, roman empire, divination
Here I continue to place Jesus and Galilee within the broader context of Israelite history. This episode works through the Hellenistic and Roman periods, including the time of Jesus, and finishes with a discussion of social and economic life in first century Galilee and Judea. This is part of series 5 (The Historical Jesus in Context) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: historical jesus, early christianity, new testament, judaism, christian origins
This episode introduces groups of early Jesus-followers within the context of associations, Judeans, and cultural minority groups, setting the stage for case studies of Jesus groups in Asia Minor (parts 2-3).
Topics: early christianity, associations, jesus, christianity
Here I continue to discuss groups of Jesus followers in Asia Minor with case studies of 1 Peter and Revelation (John's Apocalypse), focussing on both indications of identity construction or maintenance and signs of assimilation or acculturation.
Topics: 1 Peter, new testament, early christianity, acculturation, assimilation, identity
Here I begin to introduce our earliest example of the Judean apocalyptic worldview and our first example of an otherworldly journey apocalypse as a type of literature, 1 Enoch (which most likely dates to about 225-200 BCE). The next episode examines the so called "Book of Watchers" in 1 Enoch chapters 1-36 in more detail.
Topics: apocalypticism, apocalypse, 1 enoch, judgement, end of the world, fallen angels, satan
Here I explore the internal activities of associations, pointing to intertwined social, religious, and burial purposes that these groups served for their members. We take a close look at one particular association devoted to the god Zeus and the goddess Agdistis at Philadelphia in Asia Minor (LSAM 20). This is part of series 6 (Associations in the Greco-Roman World) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: associations, guilds, social history, roman empire, greco-roman world, hellenistic, religion, early...
Here I continue to explore Jewish followers of Jesus by examining key passages in an apocryphal novel attributed to Clement of Rome, also known as the Pseudo-Clementine writings. In particular, an opening letter claiming to be written by Peter to James and the story of Peter's debates with Simon Magus (a cipher for Paul) provide glimpses into struggles between Jewish followers of Jesus and others, including Pauline forms of Christianity. This is part of series 3 ("Diversity in Early...
Topics: early Christianity, pseudo-clementine, apocrypha, paul, peter, bible, new testament, early...
This is the second of two episodes that consider the historical Jesus in the role of teacher. Here I discuss evidence regarding Jesus' conception of the "kingdom of God" and the scholarly debates regarding Jesus' present or (imminent) future focus. This is part of series 5 (The Historical Jesus in Context) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: historical jesus, early christianity, kingdom of god
Here I discuss the way in which people in Roman times believed that gods saved them in their daily lives, focusing on the case of the healing sanctuary of Asklepios (Asclepius) at Pergamon (Pergamum). This is part of series 4 (Honouring the Gods in the Roman Empire) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: asklepios, asclepius, aesculapius, healing, roman empire, ancient religion, greco-roman religion,...
This episode is the first of three that introduce key historical sources and problems in reconstructing the life of a peasant from Galilee, the historical Jesus. This is part of series 5 (The Historical Jesus in Context) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: early Christianity, jesus, historical jesus, judaism, christian origins
This episode is the third of three that introduce key historical sources and problems in reconstructing the life of a peasant from Galilee, the historical Jesus. This is part of series 5 (The Historical Jesus in Context) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: early christianity, jesus, historical jesus, judaism, new testament
This final episode in the series continues the discussion of how negative ethnic stereotypes (including accusations of human sacrifice, cannibalism, and incest) impacted immigrant associations and cultural minorities, including groups of Jesus followers.
Topics: Christians, stereotypes, cannibalism, human sacrifice, early Christianity, immigrants
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
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Here I discuss first-century Judean concepts relating to an anointed one, or messiah, particularly a kingly messiah, and discuss contemporary figures who were viewed as kings. This is part of series 5 (The Historical Jesus in Context) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: jesus, early christianity, messiah, king, judaism
This episode involves a case study of Syrian or Phoenician ethnic groups or immigrant associations in the ancient Mediterranean, preparing the way for a comparison with other groups of immigrants from the eastern coast of the Mediterranean -- namely Israelites and Judeans (Jews). This episode deals primarily with the Hellenistic period in the second and first centuries BCE and the following episode continues on into the Roman imperial period. This is part of series 6 (Associations in the...
Topics: roman empire, greco-roman religious, phoenicians, syrians, associations, judeans, jews, christians
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
- Philip A. Harland
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In this first episode on Paul and his communities, we look at autobiographical statements by Paul as a way of introducing Paul and his letters from an historical perspective. This is part of series one (Paul and his Communities) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast. (Episode re-edited and improved January 29, 2009.)
Topics: history, early christianity, new testament, apostle paul, religion, ancient history, early...
Here I use two related Nag Hammadi writings -- Eugnostos the Blessed and The Sophia of Jesus Christ -- as a window into forms of Christianity that were heavily influenced by Middle Platonic philosophy, particularly in regard to cosmology and the divine Triad. This is part of series 3 ("Diversity in Early Christianity: 'Heresies' and Struggles") of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: early Christianity, plato, philosophy, gnosticism, gnostic, sophia
Here I discuss concepts of identity, assimilation, and other sociological and anthropological tools for studying immigrant groups or ethnic associations in the ancient context, preparing the way for an investigation of Phoenician, Judean, and other immigrant groups or cultural minorities. This is part of series 6 (Associations in the Greco-Roman World) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: associations, christianity, judaism, immigrants, identity, ethnicity, ethnic groups, roman empire,...
Using Josephus and Philo as a starting point, here I discuss how people in the ancient world, including Judeans (Jews), Christians, and others, sometimes expressed the identities of Judean synagogues and Christian congregations in terms of association-life. Although peculiar in some respects, Judean and Christian groups can be studied alongside other associations in the Greco-Roman world. This is part of series 7 (Associations in the Greco-Roman World) of the Religions of the Ancient...
Topics: associations, guilds, social history, roman empire, greco-roman world, hellenistic, religion, early...
This and the following episode look at legacies and interpretations of Paul after his death. In particular, I use several letters written in the name of Paul (the Pastoral epistles) and a novelistic story about Paul and a woman named Thecla (Acts of Paul and Thecla) as a window into debates about leadership of women in groups of Jesus-followers in the second century. These diverging portraits of Paul can be better understood against the background of Greek and Roman criticisms of certain early...
Topics: early christianity, bible, christian origins, new testament, thecla, acts of paul and thecla,...
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
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This second episode on Paul's letter to the Galatians looks at Paul's response to the situation involving opponents that were advocating circumcision. I discuss the apocalyptic rationale behind Paul's notion that circumcision was not an entrance requirement for Gentiles to belong to the Jesus groups. In the process, I also begin to deal with Paul's complicated positions regarding the Torah (the law) and its relation to non-Judeans. This series is part of the Religions of the Ancient...
Topics: early Christianity, new testament, bible, christian origins, ancient judaism, greco-roman...
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
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This episode looks at the situation at Rome in the mid-first century that led Paul to write the letter to the Romans, now in the New Testament. In particular, I delve into the purposes in Paul writing and his focus on what he sees as ethnic divisions between Greeks and Judeans in the groups of Jesus-followers. It appears that certain Greek or Gentile followers of Jesus were looking down upon Judean Jesus-followers who were concerned with following the law, including avoidance of foods...
Topics: early Christianity, bible, new testament, apostle paul, romans, judaism, christian origins
This episode concludes the discussion of followers of Jesus at Corinth with a focus on Paul's response to the situation (in 1 Corinthians). Here we see Paul's education in Greco-Roman methods of rhetoric or argumentation. Paul's arguments for unity and against divisions provide a clear example of deliberative rhetoric, comparable to political speeches by the likes of Dio Chrysostom. This episode is part of series one ("Paul and his Communities") of the Religions of the Ancient...
Topics: early christianity, new testament, 1 corinthians, apostle paul, christian origins, ancient judaism,...
Here I consider how Jesus is portrayed in the narrative of the gospel of Mark, namely as the secretive and suffering Son of God (part 1 of 2). I discuss Mark's use of literary irony in connection with the secrecy issue and cover critical points at which Jesus' identity comes to the fore in this ancient biography written for a Gentile (non-Judean) audience. This episode is part of series two ("Early Christian Portraits of Jesus") of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast,...
Topics: Jesus, Gospels, early christianity, christian origins, bible, new testament, ancient history,...
Here I continue to explain the worldview of the Apocryphon of John, particularly its notions regarding the material realm, the inferior creator god (demiurge), and salvation from this realm. This is part of series 3 ("Diversity in Early Christianity: 'Heresies' and Struggles") of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: early Christianity, gnosticism, nag hammadi
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
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Here I continue to delve into the opponents in John's epistles (part 2 of 2). These epistles provide evidence of an early Christian schism over how to view Jesus' humanity. This is part of series 3 ("Diversity in Early Christianity: 'Heresies' and Struggles") of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: early Christianity, bible, new testament, heresies, christian origins
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
- Philip A. Harland
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Here I discuss first-century Judean concepts of the prophet and place Jesus within the context of other figures who were viewed as prophets. This is part of series 5 (The Historical Jesus in Context) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: historical jesus, early christianity, judaism
This and the following episode consider the historical Jesus in the role of teacher. Here I discuss the form or method of his instruction, and begin to introduce the centrality of the "Kingdom of God" to his teachings. This is part of series 5 (The Historical Jesus in Context) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: early Christianity, historical jesus, kingdom of god
This episode is the second of three that introduce key historical sources and problems in reconstructing the life of a peasant from Galilee, the historical Jesus. This is part of series 5 (The Historical Jesus in Context) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: jesus, historical jesus, early Christianity, judaism
Culture and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast
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Here I discuss the active role of the gods in punishing transgressors by focusing on indigenous practices in the region of Lydia, particularly the propitiation or confession inscriptions. This is part of series 4 (Honouring the Gods in the Roman Empire) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
Topics: confession inscriptions, propitiation, lydia, phrygia, roman empire, greco-roman religion, gods
This and the following episode explore ethnic stereotypes as they impacted associations of Judeans and Jesus-followers, placing these groups within the context of ethnic rivalries. In this episode, I discuss common negative stereotypes about Judeans found within writings of the elites, particularly the Roman Tacitus and the Greek Egyptian Apion.
Topics: Jews, Judeans, ethnic rivalry, Judaism, identity, stereotypes, sociology